Other Peoples Homes – Casa Rocca Piccola, Valleta, Malta

Other Peoples Homes – Casa Rocca Piccola, Valleta, Malta

Yes, I put my arms up. I confess it. I have an insatiable appetite for seeking into other peoples houses.

No. I am not a “Peeping Tom”. When I appeared up the definition of “Peeping Tom” in my Collins Concise Dictionary and Thesaurus I am told that Peeping Tom is a person who furtively observes girls undressing. That is surely not me. But, indeed, I do confess to glancing furtively sideways when out strolling to see how significantly I can see via any home windows not shrouded with window nets. I choose to imagine I am inquisitive, owning a natural curiosity to discover out what puts the soul into a house… what, conjures up folks and what treasures (or from time to time not) are concealed powering the entrance doorway.

Thankfully I can, legitimately, indulge my curiosity, mainly because there are so several beautiful residences and gardens open to the community to visit the two in this country and overseas.

On a recent summer months vacation to Gozo with my partner we made the decision to choose the ferry back to Malta and generate into Valetta. There I observed the Casa Rocca Piccola, at 74 Republic Road, the 16th century property of a Maltese nobleman. It is now the residence of the 9th Marquis de Piro and his family members. Frances, the Marchioness is English and it is her who greets you as you stroll via the entrance doorway. The historical past of Casa Rocca Piccola goes again around 400 years to an period in which the Knights of St. John, possessing effectively fought off the invading Turks in 1565, resolved to create by themselves a prestigious town to rival European capitals. The residence is named immediately after the first proprietor, Don Pietro La Rocca, Admiral of the Buy of St. John in the Langue of Italy. It was, in later on several years, allow to a succession of Italian aristocratic knights and offered to a Maltese nobleman in the second 50 % of the 18th century.

Casa Rocca Piccola is not a museum: it is, in a feeling, much more than that. It is a residing relic of a earlier way of daily life burdened with the pretension and aspirations of Maltese lineage. There are quite a few goods of memorabilia to be seen, not only for their creative benefit, but also since they contribute reality to the over-all scene.

Climbing the ornate marble staircase you will see, dominating the leading landing a carved wood de Piro coat of arms. This was the previous work of the Maltese artist Edward Pirotta. Hanging previously mentioned is an enormously intricate chandelier from Bohemia. The very first room to be visited on your tour is the Chapel in which the walls are painted to simulate damask. There are two crosses on the change: an ivory crucifix that was granted two hundred days indulgence by Cardinal Godfrey in 1960. The next cross properties a particle of the True Cross powering a minimal red curtain. Its authenticity is confirmed by no significantly less than 7 Vatican seals on the reverse. As was the case with most European noble people it was the personalized for the younger son to become a priest and for that motive in unique, numerous patrician families were being given the privilege of preserving a chapel in the residence. The Marquis’s grandfather represented George VI and his medals are held here together with an beautiful pair of sneakers recognised as Papal buskins and a pair of silver filigree earrings, a current from the Bishop of Gozo to Nicolina de Piro soon after her husband donated land to establish the well-known Ta’Pinu church in Gozo.
On subsequent to the Environmentally friendly Place in which the partitions are indeed inexperienced! Listed here there is a wonderful marquetry bookcase that specifically caught my eye. Produced in about 1640 during the reign of the French Provencal Grand Master Lascaris it bears his arms on the doorway. The panels are inlayed inside and exterior. A intriguing perform of art. I was instructed that the veneer was a blend of olive and orange wooden. There are quite a few portraits hung on the partitions and proudly placed is a photograph of the 8th Baron and Baroness who attended the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953. Shifting on to the 4- Poster bedroom, the only area in the house not in use, the bed is a showpiece reputed to be wonderful-grandmother Orsola’s matrimonial bed. Married in 1867 she made 9 small children: 7 boys and 2 ladies. They all survived childhood and so the bed is regarded fortunate!

The future home is the Porphyr Home so termed for the reason that the walls were being at 1 time painted to imitate porphyry marble then the Blue Home or petit salon with present day photographs collected by the spouse and children. Among them will work by Annigoni, The Rathmells, Rowley-Sensible and Durer. The design of the Eating Space that when experienced an open terrace overlooking the modest back garden contrasts with the rest of the house and is viewed as a “folly”. Built by the recent family’s Grandfather in 1918 its white pillars and mild component surely make it extremely different to the relaxation of the dwelling. It offers the perception of being a conservatory since of its lightness and airiness.A trompe l’oeil of a Spanish female participating in a harp on a black and white tiled ground generates an exaggerated standpoint that offers the perception that the place is more time. The final place is the Carriage Home that was as soon as a stable for a mule but, heading again, potentially my favorite place is the Library. Here I discovered what can only be explained as the most fantastic piece of household furniture imaginable. A portable chapel. When shut it seems for all the world like a significant black lacquered bureau however, it opens up to grow to be a thoroughly operating chapel with it personal tabernacle, relics and the Way of the Cross. It is richly decorated with pics of exotic birds and flora and panels depicting St. Francis Zavier in Japan and Goa. The plan was that you could have a Chapel in any home of your property and then it could be shut up to look like a secular piece of home furnishings. An absolutely amazing piece.

Just one of the treasures of the house I should not ignore to mention although is a golden sedan chair created for the Knight of Malta, Fra Victor Nicolas de Vachon Belmont reputed to be a passionate figure who led his gentlemen personally, oh, and last of all “April” the family members tortoise to be observed in the tiny yard. Curiously Casa Rocca Piccola was a person of the handful of houses at the time of the knights to be permitted a back garden. It was a excellent privilege for its owners as h2o was scarce and gardens were being technically forbidden.

So, if you ever find on your own strolling down Republic Avenue in Valletta, Casa Rocca Piccola presents you a uncommon possibility to see within just one of the very last private unconverted Valletta palaces continue to lived in nowadays. It arrives really proposed to any person like myself, with a curiosity and inquisitive urge for food to see inside of other peoples houses.